Almost exactly four years have passed, since Sigur Rós played their last concert at Jahrhunderthalle in Frankfurt. Some festival shows were following, but beside that, there was no other way to experience the trio around front man Jón Þór “Jónsi” Birgisson in Germany. Now on 14.10.2017, the Icelanders returned to the same ground as in 2013. As announced, no opening act was brought, as I Break Horses at the last Sigur Rós concert in Frankfurt. Instead of this: four new songs embedded in a fifteen song consisting live set, devided by a break of 20 minutes.
Despite clearly rising ticket prices, even ten minutes to the show masses of people were queuing in front of the hall. Also in front of the stage, there was no more passing through. Significantly more visitors compared to the last visit when the rear rows tended to be more sparsely crowded.
The first part of their set started with the new title Á right away. The in large parts instrumental and calm track, was carried by deep basses and an ongoing drum pattern and was only slightly rising at the end by Jónsis rising voice. With mostly quiet songs, the first part of the concert went on. An exception was Glósóli and its tremendous break that was not just on this Sigur Rós concert the, or at least one of the highlights, followed by eyes and moths wide open in many faces. Powerful drum hits, an erupting guitar and haze and fog on the screen in the background rushing towards the audience, as if it was racing through the universe itself.
Before the break, the two new compositions Niður und Varða were following. The former one might likely be the first single of their 8th studio record published sooner or later, because it is based on more typical song structures, throughout text accompaniment and appears altogether more poppy. With Varða it led back again to other directions and passed straight the 10-minutes-boarder. A minimalistic, very emotional-melancholic piece, where Georg Hólm even passed its bass to drummer Ágúst Ævar Gunnarsson, took his seat at the piano and ended the song with a wonderful outro.
The stage installations were adjusted – the second part of the set was prepared. While standing behind the first video wall, the band opened that one with Óveður, which appeared gloomy and was pre-released last year already. The musicians were standing close to each other, while with every beat on the electronic drum patterns flashes were whizzing over the enormous number of lightning installations.
With the main focus on the album ( ), more popular songs from previous records were now following, led by the “hit” Sæglópur that made the audience cheer up with the first tones. This presented itself as a consistently good listener and quiet connoisseur. Only a few unteachables couldn’t be kept away from whipping out their mobile phones and squeezing song by song into a two-minute mobile phone format, thereby inevitably fixing the views of bystanders on their luminous displays.
After the usual last song Popplagið, the concert was finished. Some thanks in Icelandic – an encore was not given and also was not necessary. Rather, the band went back on stage one more time to pick up the audiences gratitude and to dignify it with the same recognition.
The sound of the whole show couldn’t have been better inside of Jahrhunderthalle, known for its good acoustic. Also the animations and light installations were matched perfectly and designed even more lavish and imposing compared to previous shows. To expand the light, show even more seems pretty useless. Even now, the musicians were more and more noticeably in the background. With all the constructions and video arts, the trio appeared temporarily a little bit small at such a big stage with so much light and animations. A moving concert not only consists of show but also needs to build a personal link between the band and the audience.
Set 1: Á / Ekki Mukk / Glósóli / E-Bow / Dauðalagið / Niður / Varða
Set 2: Óveður / Sæglópur / Ný Batterí / Vaka / Festival / Kveikur / Popplagið